payday lending

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Margaux Morisseau became a leader in the fight against payday lending after seeing its impact in the Constitution Hill neighborhood of Woonsocket. She works there as a community advocate for a nonprofit agency. This blue-collar neighborhood was once full of boarded up homes, and it has seen a comeback in recent years. But a payday lending shop moved in about three years ago and Morisseau says things have taken a turn for the worse.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The outlook for cutting the interest rate charged by payday lenders remains unclear after the House Finance Committee Wednesday voted to hold two related bills for further study.  Supporters and opponents describe the issue in completely different ways.

A coalition of nonprofits, faith groups and others has been trying for three years to cut the interest rate charged by payday lenders. They point to how the typical annual interest rate is the equivalent of 260 percent. State Treasurer Gina Raimondo was among those calling payday lending a bad business for Rhode Island.

Kristin Gourlay

Two bills getting a lot of attention this legislative session will go under the microscope at committee hearings Tuesday. Lawmakers will be discussing legislation abolishing straight-ticket voting and restricting payday lenders.

Moderate Party founder Ken Block is leading an effort to do away with straight ticket voting, a practice also known as using the master lever. Block says the master lever sows confusion and gives an advantage to the ruling Democrats in the General Assembly.

Rally Held for Changing Payday Lending in RI

Mar 27, 2013
John Bender / RIPR

Supporters of Payday Lending Reform held a rally at the State House this afternoon.

The legislation would cap the annual interest rate of Payday Loans at 36 percent.  Similar legislation has come before the State House for the past three years only to be defeated.

Margaux Morisseau, the co-chair of the Rhode Island Payday Reform Coalition, believes this year is different.

The debate over payday lending is set to begin anew with a Statehouse rally Wednesday afternoon.  Efforts to reduce the annual interest charged by payday lenders have died on Smith Hill for the last two years.

The mayors of Warwick, Cranston, Central Falls and Woonsocket are expected to take part in the rally being staged by the Rhode Island Payday Lending Reform Coalition.

Pay day loans are capped at $500, and are supposed to be paid back within two weeks. The annual interest rate on those loans can amount to 260 percent.

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